1. Treestand Technique: When people miss from a treestand, they often miss high. There are two reasons. First, the deer itself may “jump the string.” Almost all of them drop at least a little, some drop a lot. Second, some archers lower their bow arm instead of bending at the waist to create the downward shot angle. This also tends to produce high hits because it changes the relationship between the bow arm and the upper body and thus between the bow and the eye.
2. Relax: It starts with your feet and legs and leads to your bow arm and bow hand. Everything should be relaxed. Bend your bow arm just enough to unlock the elbow and let your fingers hang naturally in a relaxed grip.
3. Focus on the Spot: You have likely heard the old saying that if you aim small you will miss small. That is definitely true of archery. Learn to maintain a sharp focus on the spot you want to hit.
4. Follow Through: The follow-through is both mental and physical, and serves to hold everything together long enough for the arrow to escape the bow. On the physical side, your grip-hand must stay relaxed until the arrow hits the target. Many bowhunters snap it closed at the same moment they release the string—destroying accuracy. Resist the common tendency to drop your arm when you release the string.
5. Two-Finger Release Technique: There’s no question that the mechanical release is the most accurate way to shoot an arrow; however, if you want to stick with fingers, then use only two fingers to hold the bowstring at full draw. After reaching let-off, drop your top finger off the string and then execute your anchor and release with the other two. The best finger shooters carry 70 percent of the holding weight with their middle finger.
6. Make a Surprise Release: Target panic is the attempt—and the inability—to hold the pin steady on the intended target while taking a shot. Invariably, the afflicted will issue a “Now!” command in their mind when the pin hesitates on the spot. Trying to time the shot eventually creates a mental gridlock resulting in very inconsistent (and distressing) shooting. The cure is simple, just learn to create a surprise release.
7. Float Your Aim: One of the most damaging misconceptions in archery involves aiming. Many feel that the pin should settle rock-steady on the spot they want to hit in order to enjoy great accuracy. This is where target panic gets the spark that turns into a flame. If you are releasing the string correctly, with a surprise method, you won’t be able to time the shot, nor do you have to. Just let the pin float around and over the spot. When the surprise release goes, you will be amazed by how close the arrow hits to the center. It is spooky, really, but one of the keys to good shooting, nonetheless.
8. Aim Time: Studies show that seven seconds is the longest an average person can stay focused on one thing without distraction. Make every attempt to perform your shots within seven seconds from the time you lock on the spot.
9. Mid-Flight Obstacles: Because arrows do not fly on a flat trajectory, you can often lob a shot over an obstacle. With your bow at full draw, aim at the intended target with the correct sight pin and check the pins for the yardages in between and you can do this.
10. In-Season Practice: Most bowhunters make the mistake of shutting down their regular practice when the season starts. You need to keep up your strength and maintain your form throughout the season so it will still be sharp when you need it.